Fillings, inlays and overlays
If you've experienced tooth decay, or have lost a part of your tooth for any reason, you may require a filling, inlay or overlay.
Dental fillings explained
What's the difference?
If you've had some level of tooth decay, your dentist may be able to remove it and replace the missing part of your tooth with a filling, making it strong again. However, sometimes the type of damage left behind by decay makes a filling not suitable for your tooth, this may be when an inlay or overlay is used.
Inlays and overlays involve removing any decay or weakness in your tooth, before using these treatments to fill the remaining space.
Dental fillings in depth
During your regular dental check-ups, your dentist will look for any signs of damage. If a cavity is discovered, your dentist should be able to perform a dental filling to ensure it doesn't get any worse.
Dental fillings can either be silver in colour (amalgam) or tooth-coloured (composite). Composite fillings can be finished in a number of ways, meaning you can have a filling that closely matches the shade of your natural teeth.
How is a filling fitted?
The dental filling treatment process is carried out as follows:
• Your dentist will numb the area where the filling is being placed.
• Any old fillings, weakness or decay will be removed, while the space that is left will be shaped in order to properly house the filling.
• The space will be washed and dried before the filling can be placed.
• The filling is performed, and moulded to the correct shape.
Inlays and overlays in depth
Inlays and overlays (sometimes referred to as onlays) are an alternative option to fillings. They tend to be more suitable for teeth that are a part of the chewing surface, and usually last a lot longer than regular fillings.
What's the difference?
If you have a hole in your tooth, and inlay would sit inside this hole, while an onlay would sit on the tooth to build up its shape. They can both be made from metal, composite or porcelain. Porcelain is often best if you're looking for a treatment that's practically invisible.
How are inlays and overlays fitted?
• Your tooth will be prepared in the same way as if you were having a filling.
• Once ready, the dentist will take an impression of your tooth, for use by a dental technician to create an exact inlay or onlay to fit your tooth.
• While you're waiting for this to be created, you'll receive a temporary filling, but once it has been prepared, your dentist will fit the inlay or onlay, making sure it's fully attached and comfortable for you.
Find your local practice and get in touch for more information.